eGigs.co.uk recently conducted an interview with guitarist/bassist/vocalist Duff McKagan (DUFF MCKAGAN'S LOADED, VELVET REVOLVER, GUNS N' ROSES). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
eGigs.co.uk: Are you still doing stuff with VELVET REVOLVER or is it on hold at the moment?
Duff: Well, we don't have a singer. We've written all the material but we're still looking for one. We're waiting for the right guy to come in but for sure we don't have him yet. We've worked with a couple of guys, but they're got to be 100% behind us because for all we do, we've got to go to war together. There's been a couple of guys, man, I thought were perfect, but we'll find the right guy.. They've got to be great, not just good.
eGigs.co.uk: You play guitar again with LOADED. Have you always played guitar?
Duff: The first band I was in was called THE VEINS and I played bass in the band. It was my first experience, then I played drums in the early Eighties in a touring punk rock band, but then I also played guitar in another band. When I was sixteen, seventeen, the band became ONE MINUTE WARNING, [and] I switched to rhythm guitar. Then heroin hit Seattle in about '83, and by '84 I knew that because heroin had so enveloped Seattle that if I wanted to stay in music, I had to leave, so that's what I did. But I was a guitar player at that point, so I flew down to L.A., there it was Eddie Van Halen, and Yngwie Malmsteen guitar players and I was a Johnny Thunders/Pete Jones guitar player. So I knew I couldn't really compete, and nor did I want to compete with that kind of stuff. So, I came down and got a job in the first hour I was down there, and met some dudes through an add in a newspaper, and that was Slash and Steven [Adler]. I decided if we were going to form a band, I was going to be a bass player, a proper bass player, I wasn't going to mess around anymore. I made my own record called "Believe In Me" and played drums, guitar, bass and vocals, and played everything in 1993. I played guitar in the mid nineties with Steve Jones. Every song I've ever written, whether with GUNS, VR or LOADED, has been done on guitar.
eGigs.co.uk: So for the state of the music industry, how [would] you say it [is]? What [is] your summation?
Duff: Well, you know it's changed. It's changed so much. Back in the late Nineties, probably as far back as '98 even, a tour was to promote a record. You'd take a lot of time to tour, people were selling so many records, you could go out and tour, and the tour was an advert for your record. Now it's the complete opposite. People aren't selling records, so to sell a record you've got to get as much marketing as possible from the record label, to sell tickets to your tour. Bands are touring much leaner, tying to squeeze as much money as they can out of T-shirts, and the gig itself is the main thing. There's no staying in expensive hotels, if they're staying in hotels at all. Those kind of things you are cutting back on, so you can eek a profit out of a tour. Which is totally doable, but you have to be real smart about what you're doing.
eGigs.co.uk: Do you think it's hard for new bands than when you started out?
Duff: I don't think it's harder; it's different. Shit, man, it was hard when I started out, it was punk rock days when I started — it was do it yourself. It's kind of like it was then. When I started touring and doing gigs in 1979, when I was 13, everything was do it yourself. There was no Internet, we didn't have e-mail where you can stay in contact with other kids in other towns. It was all phone booths, with coins, and you had a list of phone numbers of punk rock houses around the country and that's how you'd book a tour. You'd call the punk rock house and hopefully someone would answer, you know. Say who you are, and ask if there was a gig which hopefully you can play.
Read the entire interview from eGigs.co.uk.